Jan 14, 2011, 2:09 PM
Isaiah had an unusual experience when he encountered the Lord in the temple. What he witnessed was awesome. He saw God seated on His throne robed in a gown that filled the temple. Above Him stood angels (seraphim) each one had six wings. One of them sang: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" (Isaiah 6:3) As the angel sang, the door posts were shaken and the temple was filled with smoke.
Straightaway Isaiah acknowledged his faults and his inadequacies: He cried out: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." (Isaiah 6:5) "Then one of the seraphim flew to him having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched his mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity (sin) is taken away, and your sin purged." (Isaiah 6:6-7)
Each of us, like Isaiah, has experienced or would like to experience God in a very special way. No single experience is the same, each is unique. Most times it is when we see God's glory that the reality of His existence registers home. Only then can we respond to His call. Often times the encounter does not necessarily occur in the temple because God is everywhere. (Psalm 139:7-10)
It was in a desert setting, in the wilderness - in a remote and lonely place that Moses had an encounter with God. There before a burning bush 'flames of fire from within a bush,' God revealed Himself to Moses. "Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up." (Exodus 3:2) That attracted him and he drew closer to catch a better glimpse. "When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses" And Moses said, "Here I am." (Exodus 3:4)
One thing is certain in God's presence; our shortcomings just erupt to reveal who we really are. We become exposed and our unworthiness stares us in the face. God then seizes this opportunity to transform us to righteous instruments for His use. Isaiah was one such tool that God made worthy for His use after his lips were 'washed clean' with a live, burning coal. "Then he heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And he answered: "Here I am. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)
There is something about God's temple and the altar that we ought to be mindful of. It was on the altar in the Holy of Holies that the high priest offered a blood sacrifice. The blood of a spotless lamb was smeared on the mercy seat as a sacrifice for the entire people of Israel. He did this repeatedly every year to atone or pay for the sins of God's chosen people - the Children of Israel.
God cannot be absent from the place where He is being worshipped, adored and praised. (Psalm 22:3) In His holy temple, we also can have an encounter with the Lord. The reason why we go to church every Sunday is to live out that experience in His presence. But how often do we set our feet in the house of the Most High God - in His holy temple? How often do we enter into his courts with praise?
Instead we are held back by our multiple occupations and preoccupations which elbow out God, our Maker. We put Him second place in our order of priorities as we ride the world proud of our achievements. Yes, we are too busy to find time in our crowded and tight schedule to go to church on Sundays. Oh, we have all the arguments why we should stay home. 'After all it is a day of rest,' 'I cannot wake up early after a late night to go to church.' Others would prefer to watch church service on satellite television. It is not worth moving out of our homes to present ourselves before God in His holy temple.
We cannot meet the King of kings and the Lord of lords on our own terms. He requires us to literally make the effort and come to the altar of God to offer the sacrifice ourselves if we want to make our ways right with Him. It is a personal encounter at His altar.
David was a great worshipper of God, that He called him 'a man after God's heart.' He loved God passionately. It was a pleasure for him to go into the house of the Lord. "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord'. Our feet are standing in your gates." (Psalm 122:1-2) Nothing can equal being in the presence of the Lord! David proclaimed: "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." (Psalm 84:10) It is precious and valuable time spent in God's presence. Nothing can be so wholesome!
When we experience the joy of serving God we will long to; "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."(Psalm 100: 4-5)
When that happens we can boldly say like David: "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23:6) Have you been dragging your feet out of a feeling of self-sufficiency? You think you can go it on your own and therefore do not need a Saviour? It is time to stop and think again and begin to acknowledge Him for what He is and what He has always been. He changes not. (Malachi 3:6) David had one burning desire and he declared: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in His temple." (Psalm 27:4) Wouldn't you like to do the same?